Everyone tells you that setting up your own company and working for yourself is amazing. One day I may truly believe them, just now it all seems to be stress, coffee, stress, no sleep, stress, blue sky, and back to stress. To make things even more fun I am making sure that I am only working on niche items that I can only think 3 people in the world will ever want. This I feels gives me points for doing it my way so to speak but will possibly doom myself to a life in poverty or so it feels.
The good news is that I can stand behind every product I sell and tell you why I passionately believe you should buy it. Ironically, I was great in sales when I worked in that field but now that I am doing it for myself I seem to have forgotten everything I know about sales. Now, admittedly selling Cervelo bikes over the last few years was not that hard, the hardest bit being to make sure you had stock.
Maybe it was just being cocky with someone else’s money, now it is my money and well I want to make sure I am making the right decisions. So obviously the single speed titanium coupled frame with a disc brake mount that I have sitting in a CAD file is a great decision and not just a take on lunacy.
I also feel that if I am truly going to complain about some of the frankly appalling decisions of certain bike companies, I should really make my own. It seems only fair and as such, I can categorically state that all frames penned by my own fair hand will not have a press fit bottom bracket. I can also say that as a very Scottish person I can not wait for all the time I will be spending in Taiwan. I may not even be able to leave the air-conditioned airport, I say that but usually, I do manage, especially if the taxi is right at the door.
I have not decided to follow through on this dream as I hope to become ludicrously rich but as nice as that would be I would just waste it all on Haribo and coffee and as such I am truly doing it to bring things that my 10 years in the bike trade has taught me that people want, they may just not know it.
I think I should also start a countdown until I start to use terms like vertically compliant and laterally stiff.
Now I know I am in a privileged position as I already know the companies I want to deal with and how to contact them and how to gain a few favors and ultimately this is all worth its weight in gold and as such I owe a huge debt of thanks to everyone who allowed me a chance to make these connections on their per diem.
I can also pretty much state that dealing with companies in Taiwan is about a million times easier than trying to work your way through the Raleigh B2B site, a site that is so dreadful I can safely state that the fact they still have business customers amazes me. Yeah sometimes the communication has a few issues but CAD drawings and being sensible are universal and make life a lot easier to work with.
The main issue I think is marketing, how do you let people know about your product? How do I tell enough people that I can supply you with that titanium single speed frame that you did not know you wanted? Can I do it without living on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Reddit, Snapchat… If I do that how will I ever have the time to draw frames, get the product made, test samples, drink coffee, eat cake, and all the other things I would like to do like sleep?
Is this the reason that many new micro-brands do not last, they just can not compete with the big boys and their fully staffed departments that do everything that one person has to deal with. These are the thoughts that constantly buzz through my head. At times I feel I should drop the whole idea and go back and just sell bikes for other people, I know I am good at it and I know I will receive x number of shekels a month. That is security and sometimes I just want to grab that blanket and pull it up and over my head and forget about the whole thing and then I get an email or text and the whole project seems like the greatest idea and how can I ever doubt myself.
This happened on Saturday when I was standing in Motherwell in the pouring rain questioning my very existence and the point of it. Then I had two sales happen concurrently and suddenly I was Gordon Gekko, but with very wet feet and less swanky shirts. The highs and lows seem to be a regular occurrence as you set up a venture, the moments where nothing can stop you hopefully giving you enough momentum to get through the periods of doubt and questioning that you will inevitably go through.
Doubt it probably proves that you are human.